Work pressure for the police breaks down officers

Koen Simmers, chief executive of the Dutch Police Federation
Koen Simmers Photo credit: Omroep Brabant

The pressure of working in the police force is still too high. Many officers leave because of the workload and the threats they receive. Sometimes agents are put on social media with their names and address. That has a huge impact on interaction with the public.

Koen Simmers, chief executive of the Dutch Police Federation, appeared on Sunday on Omroep Brabant’s KRAAK talk show. He said that the workload for the police is enormous. In addition, more and more emergency workers are confronted with aggression, making it difficult to keep officers on board. “This has a huge impact,” says Simmers, who believes that the police should no longer do everything.

The work has changed for the police according to Koen. “We actually only provide emergency aid now. We no longer have time for a chat with residents after a violent incident or with a forester who reports dumping. You get information, respect, understanding from these kinds of conversations. We are mainly busy fighting excesses and the knot is now constantly tense,” says Simmers

And on top of that, there is less and less respect for care workers. “Apparently it has become normal to threaten and attack emergence workers,” said the chief executive.

“For example, if there is a resuscitation, agents must first clear the spot before the ambulance personnel can get to work,” explains Koen. “On New Year’s Eve, officers in ‘war uniform’ with earplugs and protectors take to the streets. Apparently, we think this is normal. It would make such a difference if care workers were given support instead of being the target of aggression and frustration.” 

Money alone is not the solution, but fewer tasks

Koen Simmers does not have a quick solution to the problem. “A bag of money is coming, but training agents takes at least four years. That is why I think it’s better to stop putting everything on the police. Enforcement of corona measures and the fireworks ban is impossible. This undermines our authority,” Simmers explains.

That is why the police are now taking action. “We come together and discuss what we are up against,” Simmers explains. “If anything goes wrong, we’ll be there, despite the strike. Of course, we want a better collective labour agreement, but above all, we want to be seen.”

Source: Omroep Brabant

Translated by: Shanthi Ramani

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